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  Friday, 14 June, 2002, 01:27 GMT 02:27 UK
Woods plays it cool
Tiger Woods hit a three-under-par 67 to take the lead in the US Open
Woods admitted the Bethpage course was tough
Tiger Woods refused to get carried away by his first-round lead at the US Open and admitted the Bethpage Black course had presented a massive challenge.

Woods' birdie at the 18th gave him an opening round 67 and put him one shot clear of Spain's Sergio Garcia.


I was struggling with my putting all week. I just worked on it, and it got progressively better.
Tiger Woods

It was a high-scoring opening to the second golf major of the year, with only seven players managing to break par on the treacherous course.

"When you can end on a birdie, you sleep that much better," Woods said.

"I just hung in there, grinded my way around all day. When I got myself in trouble I tried to hack my way out and make par."

Woods is trying to become the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1972 to win the Masters and US Open in the same year.

He set up the key putt by salvaging a 10-foot par putt at the par-four seventh after his approach found a green side bunker.

"I was struggling with my putting all week," Woods said. "I just worked on it, and it got progressively better."

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia said he was delighted to be two under par

A victory would put Woods halfway to an unprecedented calendar-year Grand Slam sweep, but the world's top-ranked player refused to entertain such thoughts.

"We've got a lot of holes to play, 54 more to go," Woods said.

"You have got to take it one shot at a time." A boisterous crowd of 42,500 cheered Woods across the first public course to host the US Open.

"They are enthusiastic. They are into it," Woods said.


It's an unbelievable course. It asks for everything in your bag.
Sergio Garcia

"So many people have been able to play this course, and that is not the case at every US Open.

"You take great pride the pros are playing there, and that's indicated by the excitement out there."

Garcia, 22, is trying to become the first European player to win the US Open title since England's Tony Jacklin in 1970.

It has been 75 years since any other European player captured this major crown.

"I only missed three fairways all day and that's the key - just take it one shot at a time," Garcia said.

"That's the way to do well on these type of courses. You have to have patience."

The Spaniard admitted the challenge posed by the course was as great as any he had faced in his career.

"It's an unbelievable course," Garcia said.

"It asks for everything in your bag.

"Conditions were perfect and you see how tough this course is. You can get rough where if you hit it 30 or 40 yards, you are happy.

South Korea's K.J. Choi and Americans Jeff Maggert, Billy Mayfair and Dudley Hart shared third on 69.

A group of six at 70 included American Phil Mickelson, Ireland's Padraig Harrington and England's Nick Faldo, who turns 45 next month.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Tiger Woods
"I'm very satisfied"
BBC Sport Online's US Open 2002 news section

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14 Jun 02 | US Open
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